Growing up By Christine Swiderski

I remember just after I received my driver's license, I was 16 at the time. On one of my solo voyages, a bird hit my windshield. I slammed on the breaks. I got out of the car picked up the bird. I was crying so hard I could not tell if it was dead or alive. Carefully I placed this small creature on the passenger seat. My mom was good at fixing things. She had good instincts with animals. I was hoping she could save the bird. I ran in the side door calling her. She came wondering what had happened. I showed her the bird. I could tell by the look on her face there was nothing she could do. I was crushed, crying all the harder. My mom gave me a Valium and told me to lie down I would feel better soon. That was back in the 70's when a pill could make everything all right. I am glad we have become more conscious concerning our health and drugs. I rarely take an aspirin.

Just thinking about it makes me shake my head. I loved my mom thought she could leap buildings in a single bound. If she couldn't dad could. Now that I am the adult and a mom I wonder how often she would feel inadequate.

At this very moment, I feel totally helpless. How do I manage to care for my ill husband and still raise my son? Granted, he is 16 years old. Now is the time he can get into trouble that has long lasting consequences.

Late one evening my husband had a massive heart attack. There was nothing they could do for him. Walking out of the hospital to my car, overwhelming detached numbness came over me. Mechanically I drove home. My son Ed had just arrived seconds before me from his job. He could tell by the way I was moving something was horribly wrong. I haven't as yet shed a tear. He reached for me, holding each other we collapsed in a storm of tears.

After the funeral, Ed told me not to worry he would quit school and work full-time to help with the finances. I reassured him we were fine. Life insurance, social security, and his dad's pension we would be fine.

At my son's graduation is when both of our lives changed. Ed received a scholarship to a college out of state. I met a single dad and hit it off.

Ed and I are on a different path leading maybe in different directions. Yet I know Ed will be a good man due to the fact he was ready to step up and be a man at 16.

I realize now we do not always have to be in control or have all the answers. All we need is to take one step at a time. Hold to what is good. Life has a way of working things out. Even without Valium to make you feel better.